Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Maya Calendar and The End of the World: Why the One Does Not Substantiate the Other

My article on the ancient Maya Calendar and the supposed end of the world on 21 December 2012. I know, it's a topic done to death in the past few years and I'm as tired of hearing about it as anyone else. Having studied the Maya Civilization for many years and spoken with Daykeepers at sites such as Uxmal and Chichen Itza I feel I can say authoritatively that the world is not going to end this December - at least not owing to any ancient `predictions' from the Maya. The article may be read in full here: http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/416/ and begins below.

The Popol Vuh recounts the story of twins who journeyed to Xibalba. For the Maya, their round of adventures serves as a metaphor for timeless, repeating cycles and for the regeneration of earth and all living things. – Gene S. Stuart, Mayanist

In recent years, there have been many books, and even more websites, concerning the calendar of the ancient Maya and the end of the world in December 2012. There is no need to list and further popularize such works as they can be found easily enough. They are prominently displayed in sections devoted entirely to the subject in popular book stores and even a cursory search of the internet will reveal a multitude of them. While each separate work and author has its own particular bias and agenda to promote, and so offers a different interpretation of the Maya Calendar, the underlying reasoning for a belief in the end of the world in 2012, at least as associated with the Maya Calendar, runs thusly: The present cycle of the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar begins 11 August 3114 BCE and concludes on 21 December 2012 CE and, because of this, the end of the world is a certainty.

In order for the Maya Calendar to be able to accurately predict an end to the world in any way, it would need to begin at the beginning of the world. It is clear from the archaeological, geological, and historical record that the world is much older than the beginning of the Maya Calendar in 3114 BCE. The great Cities of Mesopotamia such as Akkad and Eridu had already risen to their height by the time the calendar is dated as beginning. The dynasties of Egypt were already old and the Chinese and Indian civilizations in full flourish. The Maya calculated the date of 3114 BCE as the beginning of the world based upon an earlier calendar by the Mixe-Zoque people. Their forward astronomical predictions were based upon careful observations of the skies but were understood according to the belief system which governed their understanding of how the universe worked and that understanding was that time was cyclical, not linear. Vastly different from the theological and cosmological understanding espoused by the three `great’ monotheistic religions, time was, itself, a deity, and, as such, had no end. There is, therefore, nothing in the cosmology of the Maya which suggests an end to anything, much less an end to the world.

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